- - Sunday, September 27, 2020

There was never a Palestine prior to the British Mandate for Palestine, established by the San Remo Agreement (1920) and confirmed by the League of Nations (1922) as a homeland for Jews. Only Jews were referred to, and called themselves, Palestinians. The Arabs identified as being from where their families originated (“After Abraham Accords, time to look at Palestinian-Israeli conflict with fresh eyes,” Web, Sept. 22).

Zionist migration began in the 1880s. In the 1920s and ‘30s, Britain restricted Jewish immigration, while the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al Husseini, Hitler’s ally, encouraged Arabs to move in. Arabs also came for the employment the Jews created.

By 1948, half the Mandate’s Arabs were newcomers. (Within a few years, half the Israelis were Jewish refugees from Arab lands.)

Under international law, the Mandate was to be the Jewish homeland. However, the U.N. voted to partition it into Jewish and Arab areas. The Jews accepted and declared the state of Israel. The Arabs, including the Arab League, rejected and started a war to “push the Jews into the sea.”

Egypt occupied Gaza. Jordan occupied the (newly named) West Bank. All Jews were ethnically cleansed from these areas.



Some Arabs fled and became refugees. Those who remained became Israeli citizens, and are fully represented in all aspects of Israeli life. In 1964, the KGB created the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Its leader, Yasser Arafat, an Egyptian, called himself a Palestinian, becoming the first Arab to do so. The PLO was not meant to create a new state. Egypt and Jordan could have done that. The goal of the PLO was to drive out all “infidels.” (It forced 700,000 Christians out of Lebanon.)

Only after the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Arabs admitted they had no military option, did they turn to diplomacy, along with terrorism, to promote the ‘Palestinian cause.’

LEN BENNETT

Author, “Unfinished Work”

Deerfield Beach, Fla.

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